President Donald Trump has fired Geoffrey Berman as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, sources familiar with the decision told ABC News.
The surprise move comes two years into a tenure that included the prosecution of Michael Cohen, Jeffrey Epstein and two associates of Rudy Giuliani.
The decision was delivered personally by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who a Justice Department official told ABC News offered Berman other positions, including head of the Civil Division at Main Justice.
Berman issued a statement late Friday saying he had no intention of taking the firing in stride.
“I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” he said. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.”
“Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption,” he continued. “I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”
Berman’s firing is likely to send a shockwave through Washington, as it comes ahead of the release of former national security adviser John Bolton’s book, in which Bolton details an exchange that Trump had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the Southern District.
According to Bolton, after Erdogan handed Trump a memo saying that a Turkish firm under investigation by SDNY was innocent, Trump told Erdogan, “he would take care of things, explaining that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people.”